One down, one to go

SODELPA Leader Sitiveni Rabuka speaks during the press confrence .Picture: ATU RASEA/FILE

I AM grateful we can, at this difficult time in Fiji, look to the court to uphold justice, said Social Democratic Liberal Party (SODELPA) leader Sitiveni Rabuka after he was acquitted yesterday.

Dozens of party supporters and members of the public were present in court to congratulate Mr Rabuka after his acquittal.

In his judgement, Magistrate Jioji Boseiwaqa said prosecution failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that SODELPA was a registered political party and that Mr Rabuka was an office holder of SODELPA.

Mr Rabuka was charged by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) for his alleged failure to declare his assets, liabilities and income contrary to the Political Party Act.

“I think it would be an understatement to say I am glad to be here. Just being through a difficult time. There is a charge outstanding so I will not be talking so much about that charge,” Mr Rabuka said during a press brief after the judgement.

“I am so glad that I went through that because nobody is above the law.

“I have been confident of the law in Fiji and I am so glad of what came out this morning.” Mr Rabuka said he would now be focused on fighting this election with his 50 candidates.

He also highlighted that SODELPA was always united and each member had their own freedom of expressing their grievances or differences.

“Every member of the party has an avenue to air their differences or grievances. Everybody is a citizen of this country and they are free to express whatever they want.

“The media has picked that up but we would prefer to handle the differences within the machinery of the party,” he added.

Meanwhile, FICAC has confirmed that they had filed an appeal in the High Court against the decision that was made by the Magistrates Court.

A statement released by FICAC stated they had outlined 15 grounds of fundamental legal and factual errors as grounds of appeal.